Struggles and Desires in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

Decent Essays
In the play “A Streetcar Named Desire,” author Tennessee Williams uses his three main characters Stanley, Stella and Blanche to illustrate the theme of sexual hedonism in a world where each struggles for survival and desires to belong. Stanley Kowalski and his wife Stella live in a two room apartment on Stanley’s blue collar salary. They are visited by Stella’s sister Blanche Dubois who has just lost the family plantation, Belle Reve. The three exist in the ‘jungle’ society of New Orleans where each is a victim of animal desires, social pressures and use sex to try and gain control of the world around them.
Stanley is the protagonist who is trying to exist in the wild and as an untamed animal uses sex as power and control. In the opening scene we see him toss meat wrapped in butcher paper to Stella, almost like the lion who goes out to hunt and returns to the den with his kill, “Stanley carries his bowling jacket and a red-stained package from a butcher…He heaves the package at her” (13, 14). Later in the play, during a poker game, Blanche continues to turn on the radio, even after Stanley has demanded she leave it off. Stanley reacts, “Stanley stalks fiercely through the portieres into the bedroom… with a shouted oath, he tosses the instrument out the window” (57). This is followed by the beating of Stella by Stanley. Every instance of conflict for Stanley is resolved with aggressive behavior, emphasizing his animal like tendencies, and how he uses violence to maintain
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